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California: HIV Infects Porn Film Performer

October 13, 2010

An active adult-film performer working in the San Fernando Valley recently tested HIV-positive, a clinic that primarily serves the industry confirmed on Tuesday. It is the second HIV infection hitting the lucrative industry in about a year, renewing calls by AIDS advocates for state officials to mandate condom use on porn sets.

While the Sherman Oaks-based Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) declined to disclose the video companies involved with the new HIV case, at least two temporarily suspended production as a precaution: Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures.

"We are quarantining and testing all exposed partners to the individual," said Jennifer Miller, an HIV/STD counselor for AIM. "We're doing what we can to notify the individuals involved."

"We did this as a precaution and will continue to monitor the situation," said Steven Hirsch, founder and co-chair of Van Nuys-based Vivid. Canoga Park-based Wicked Pictures, which describes its productions as "condom mandatory," said it halted filming to allow AIM to create a "comprehensive quarantine list."

Los Angeles County health officials said they have not yet received notification from AIM, but the clinic is required to report new HIV cases within seven days. The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) said on Tuesday that AIM had yet to notify them of a performer testing HIV-positive.

When Cal/OSHA attempted to follow up on reports of an adult-film performer testing HIV-positive last year, the performer filed a restraining order in Alameda County Superior Court barring AIM from releasing information to officials. That case is pending, said Amy Martin, Cal/OSHA's chief counsel.

"We're being stymied right now," said Martin. "We believe it's critically important that we be able to pursue this for the health and safety of the workers."

Los Angeles County health officials should demand that AIM disclose which performers are affected and name the companies involved so Cal/OSHA can investigate, said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Otherwise, "AIM and the industry will do everything in its power to prevent us from knowing how many people were affected."

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Excerpted from:
Los Angeles Times
10.13.2010; Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Rong-Gong Lin II

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